The Oxford History of Western Art

The Oxford History of Western Art

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"The Oxford History of Western Art" is a unique and authoritative account of the development of visual culture in the West over the last 2700 years, from the classical period to the end of the twentieth century. "OHWA" takes a fresh look at how the history of art is presented and understood. It uses a carefully devised modular structure to offer readers powerful insights into how and why works of art were created. This is not a simple, linear 'story' of art, but a rich series of stories, told from varying viewpoints. Carefully selected groups of pictures give readers a sense of the visual 'texture' of the periods and movements covered. The 167 illustration groups, supported by explanatory text and captions, create a sequence of 'visual tours' - juxtapositions of significant images that convey a sense of the visual environments in which works of art were produced and viewed. The reader is invited to become an active participant in the process of interpretation. Another key feature is the redefinition of traditional period boundaries. Rather than relying on conventional labels such as Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, etc., five major phases of significant historical change are established that unlock longer and more meaningful continuities: The foundations: Greece and Rome c. 600 BC-AD 410; Church and state: The establishing of visual culture 410-1527; The art of nations: European visual regimes 1528-1770; The era of revolutions 1770-1914; and Modernism and after 1914-2000. This framework shows how the major religious and secular functions of art have been forged, sustained, transformed, revived, and revolutionized over the ages; how the institutions of church and state have consistently aspired to make art in their own image; and how the rise of art history itself has come to provide the dominant conceptual framework within which artists create, patrons patronize, collectors collect, galleries exhibit, dealers deal, and art historians write. The text has been written by a team of 50 specialist authors working under the direction of Professor Martin Kemp, one of the UK's most distinguished art historians. While bringing their own expertise and vision to their sections, each author has also related their text to a number of unifying themes and issues, including written evidence, physical contexts, patronage, viewing and reception, techniques, gender and race, centres and peripheries, media and condition, the notion of 'art', and current presentations. Though the coverage of topics focuses on European notions of art and their transplantation and transformation in North America, space is also given to cross-fertilizations with other traditions - including the art of Latin America, the Soviet Union, India, Africa, Australia, and Canada. The applied arts and reproductive media such as photography and prints are also covered. The result is a fresh and vibrant account of Western art, which serves both as an inspirational introduction for the general reader and an authoritative source of reference and guidance for students.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 220 x 272 x 38mm | 2,240.77g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • numerous full colour and halftone illustrations
  • 0192804154
  • 9780192804150
  • 1,640,952

Review Text

Describing itself as 'the most important new art history for 50 years', this book is clearly making a strong claim for itself. By also billing itself as 'the new story of art', it is implicitly laying a claim to the position held for many years by E H Gombrich's monumentally successful The Story of Art, which first appeared 50 years ago. The Oxford History of Western Art is certainly the most important new single-volume history of art to have been published recently. The new book assembles a team of 50 leading art historians to provide an overview of Western art in the 2700 years from classical Greece to late-20th-century postmodernism. It includes detailed descriptions of individual artists and their work and encompasses the applied arts and design, and photography, as well as the more 'traditional' fine arts - and also takes account of cross-fertilizations with non-Western traditions. It is certainly accessible, well-written and well-illustrated, and is undoubtedly authoritative. It adopts a somewhat objective stance: the writers give the impression of standing back from the art as though on a tour of a vast art museum. This gives the book refreshing perspective. But can the new book displace Gombrich's giant? Time will tell, but maybe there is room for both. (Kirkus UK)show more

Table of contents

Preface; Introduction; PART 1: THE FOUNDATIONS: GREECE AND ROME C.600 BC-AD 410; Introduction; Greek Sculpture; Greek Pictorial Arts; Greek Art Beyond Greece; Roman Sculpture; Roman Painting and Mosaics; Theory and Criticism; Ancient Paradigms from Augustus to Mussolini; PART 2: CHURCH AND STATE: THE ESTABLISHING OF EUROPEAN VISUAL CULTURE 410-1527; Introduction; Early Christian Art; Illuminated Manuscripts; Ars Sacra to c.1200; Monumental Sculpture to c.1300; Stained Glass; Painting in the Middle Ages; The Altarpiece; Ars Sacra c.1200-1527; Monumental Sculpture c.1300-1527; The New Painting: Italy & the North; Domestic Arts; The Print; PART 3: THE ART OF NATIONS: EUROPEAN VISUAL REGIMES 1527-1770; Introduction; The International Style; Forms in Space 1527-c.1600; Forms in Space c.1600-c.1700; Free-standing Sculpture c.1600-c.1700; The Picture: Italy & France; The Picture: Spain; The Picture: Dutch & Flemish; The Picture: England; The Print; The Interior; Forms in Space c.1700-1770; Academies, Theories, & Critics; The International Diaspora; PART 4: THE ERA OF REVOLUTIONS 1770-1914; Introduction; Pictures and Publics; Sculptures and Publics; The Print; Photography; Design & Industry; The Rise of Art History; Art Criticism & Aesthetic Ideals; Art Museums & Galleries; PART 5: MODERNISM AND AFTER 1914-2000; Introduction; The International Style; Alternative Media; Photography; Alternative Centres: The Soviet Union; Alternative Centres: Latin America; Alternative Centres: India; Alternative Centres: Africa/Afro-Caribbean; Alternative Centres: Canada & Australia; Postmodernism; Art History; Critics & Criticism; Art Museums and Galleries; Epilogue; Chronology; Glossary; Further Reading; Picture credits; Indexshow more

About Martin Kemp

Martin Kemp, British Academy Wolfson Professor (1993-8) and Professor of the History of Art, University of Oxford, is one of the UK's most distinguished art historians. His many publications include Leonardo da Vinci: Artist, Scientist, Inventor; The Science of Art; and Behind the Picture: Art and Evidence in the Italian Renaissance. He lives in the U.K.show more

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1 3% (1)
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